(Information for the following article was obtained from NY Times, November 30, 2011, Highly Skilled Immigrants May Wait Less for Visas, by Julia Preston)
The House of Representatives last week passed a bill that will make it easier for highly skilled immigrants from India and China to become legal permanent residents. The bill will reduce visa backlogs which are often seen as a huge impediment for visa petitioners who sometimes had wait times of decades before they would receive their documents. The bill eliminates limits on the number of green cards based on employment that is available annually to each country. Currently, 140,000 green cards are available each year for immigrants based on their job skills, with each country limited to 7 percent of those visas. Under the bill, after a 3 year transition, all employment-based green cards will be issued on a first come first serve basis, with no country limits.
The bill also includes measures that will more than double the green cards available for Mexicans and Filipinos, the two national groups facing the longest backlogs on the family side of the system. It will raise the country limit for 226,000 family green cards each year to 15 percent from the current 7 percent.
Many of the highly skilled immigrants from India and China will have master’s degrees and doctorates in science and engineering. The immigrants and their employers have passed labor market tests showing that qualified Americans were not available for the jobs they hold. This will be a boon to American technology companies who have been anxiously awaiting Congress working with them to offer more green cards for their foreign employees.
As always, for all of your immigration questions and needs, we here at the Law Firm of Vaughn & Weber PLLC can be of assistance. Please feel free to contact us at (516) 858-2620 or visit our website at www.vaughnweberlaw.com.
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